Dr. Wayne Dyer was introduced to essential oils not long before he died in 2015. Motivational speaker and New Thought philosopher, Dyer was a big believer in self-actualization through positive thinking. New Thought has some connections to New Age philosophy and Christian Science, and hitherto Dyer’s focus had been on attaining health through positive psychology, but he was so captivated by his discovery of oils that he anticipated the cultivation of essential oils would “alter and shift what is happening on our planet.”
Dyer was convinced that these plant extracts are, in his own words, “the essence of what God created,” and went so far as to call essential oil vials, “little bottles of God.” Granted, this statement is not only self-contradictory, but also out of context, but my intention here is not to judge Dyer’s entire philosophy. I chose this story to simply illustrate a common confusion many people have about the nature of God.
America has always been a melting pot of ideas and religions. Post-modern Christians here live among tribes of people that embrace any number of philosophies and religious ideas. Fragments of these philosophies get taken up by the majority, from time to time, as part of popular culture.
If essential oils are “little bottles of God,” as Dyer called them, then they are unpredictable, like the real God, and we should be mortally afraid of them. If we believe oils are little bottles of divine essence and in partaking of them we should not suffer but become like God, we have confused the creature for the Creator and misinterpreted God’s omniscient plan for our well-being.
However, this is not the end of the discussion. So far we have hinted at what Basil the Great described as the ‘essence’ of God, but we have yet to discuss anything concerning what Basil calls the ‘energies’ of God. We are getting to that. Next we need to address what an essential oil is and how it fits in to the order of God’s creation. Stay tuned...
God is Beyond Our Control
The danger in believing essential oils are God is that we consequently believe we can put God in our pocket and control His magical power in our lives whenever we feel like we need it. This is a very effective lie and one that the devil uses throughout history. How many Christians only pray when the car breaks down on the highway or when they need consolation after emotional trauma? But is God a first-aid kit or a teddy bear that we can control when and how we chose to use Him? No; God is wild, all-powerful, beyond our grasp, and unpredictable - like the Narnian Aslan.
Essential Oils Can Manifest God’s Providence or Become Idols
Yet, if essential oils of plants are not God, but creatures, then they are created by God for a purpose. That purpose, God tells us in Psalm 104, is to serve our needs – and if for a purpose, then there is a proper way to use those oils – according to his design – and our job is to discover that purpose and practice the virtue of using them rightly and in due season according to their nature, created order, and God’s will.
This means using essential oils could give glory to God and draw us closer to Him, if we thank Him for His providence and recognize the beautiful wonder of His loving design. But it can also mean that, under different circumstances, our use of essential oils could be idolatrous. Idolatry is when we supplant God in our heart with something else – a creature.
We need to be careful. Our God is a jealous God and He will not tolerate a rival.